The University of Iowa

2014 International Impact Award winners to discuss poverty, hunger, disease on Nov. 18 WorldCanvass

October 24th, 2014

See the ReCap of this program to access audio, video, photos and more

Journalist, author, and activist Roger Thurow and tropical medicine specialist Dr. Selma Jeronimo have been named the winners of the 2014 International Impact Awards. UI President Sally Mason and Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas will present the awards to Thurow and Jeronimo at 5 p.m., November 18, at FilmScene in downtown Iowa City as part of the television/radio/internet program WorldCanvass. The ensuing discussion will focus on the tenacious cycle of poverty, hunger, and disease which afflicts so many parts of our globe—and some of the creative efforts worldwide to break the cycle. Following WorldCanvass, a public reception will be held to celebrate the award winners. A free screening of the film "The Last Hunger Year" will follow at 7 p.m.

The International Impact Award is given by the University of Iowa and International Programs to honor exceptional individuals in any field who have made sustained and deep contributions internationally or in the U.S. to promote global understanding. This is the first year in which more than one award has been given. Past recipients are Marcelo Mena-Carrasco (2013), Hualing Nieh Engle (2012), Trudy Huskamp Peterson (2011), and Richard and Mary Jo Stanley (2010).

Although Thurow and Jeronimo are in different fields and do not work together, they share a passionate advocacy on behalf of populations who live in poverty and suffer from hunger and disease—conditions they believe to be both intolerable and avoidable.

Roger Thurow

Thurow is a UI journalism grad who grew up in a small town in Illinois and went on to a high-profile career writing for the Wall Street Journal and covering a host of momentous international events, including the emergence of Nelson Mandela from prison, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the war in former Yugoslavia. But the tragic and seemingly intractable issues of inadequate nutrition and food inequalities in Africa haunted him and eventually became his driving cause. After three decades as a journalist and foreign correspondent, Thurow turned his energies toward personal activism, joining the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as a senior fellow for agriculture and food policy, speaking out and writing on nutrition and hunger issues, and being named the 2009 Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award in the process.

Selma Jeronimo

Jeronimo is a professor of biochemistry and medicine at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, Brazil. Her research involves work in the neighborhoods and homes of low-income populations, and she provides free medical consultation and care as a part of her studies. Although not an alumna of the University of Iowa, Jeronimo has a long history of working closely with UI medical and global health faculty and students. A partner in numerous high-level, grant-funded research projects investigating endemic but curable tropical diseases that affect thousands of her fellow Brazilians, particularly those living in impoverished conditions, Jeronimo also provides hands-on learning opportunities that are invaluable to her UI colleagues. 

In addition to Thurow and Jeronimo, WorldCanvass host Joan Kjaer will talk with Jay Sehgal, executive vice president at Sehgal Foundation, USA, an Iowa-based nonprofit dedicated to empowering individuals and communities in rural India for sustainable development. Other guests include faculty and students from journalism, medicine, engineering, and global health.

The public is invited to attend the free, live WorldCanvass program, reception, and film screening, hosted by UI International Programs. It takes place at Iowa City’s non-profit cinema arts organization FilmScene, 118 East College Street. Audience members are also encouraged to enjoy a catered social hour from 4:00-5:00 p.m. preceding the show.  

We encourage you to use #worldcanvass when posting on social media before, during, and after the show, or mention @uiowaIP on Twitter.

WorldCanvass: The Tenacious Cycle of Poverty, Hunger, and Disease

Social Hour (4:00-5:00)

Presentation of International Impact Awards (5:00)

Part 1 (5:00-5:30) - Starvation in a world of plenty

Part 2 (5:30-6:00) - Providing healthcare to Brazil’s poor

  • IIA winner Selma Jeronimo, M.D., Ph.D.-professor and tropical medicine specialist, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil
  • Mary Wilson, M.D.-professor of global health, Departments of Internal Medicine and Microbiology, UI Carver College of Medicine

Part 3 (6:00-6:30) - Rising from poverty

  • Jay Sehgal-executive vice president, Sehgal Foundation USA
  • Joseph Wyckoff-geographic analyst, Iowa Flood Center 
  • Cristina Woodhouse-graduate student, UI Carver College of Medicine

Reception (6:30)

Book signing by Roger Thurow; catered hors d’oeuvres

Free screening of the film "The Last Hunger Year" (7:00-7:45)

This event is part of the 2014 UI celebration of International Education Week.

WorldCanvass is recorded before a live audience for later broadcast on UITV, YouTube, iTunes, and the Public Radio Exchange. Podcasts can be downloaded for free from iTunes and past programs are available through IP’s website. WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs in collaboration with FilmScene and University of Iowa Video Services. For more information on WorldCanvass, contact Joan Kjaer at